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Toshiba Satellite U305

>> Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Satellite U305 is a bit chunkier than other laptops with 13.3 inch displays, such as the Apple MacBook, which isn't exactly what we'd call svelte, and the Sony VAIO SZ. Thickness aside, the Toshiba is rather compact and, with a 5 pound weight (including the extended life battery), easy to carry. With its rounded edges, reflective blue black exterior, and silver interior.

The Satellite U305 could be mistaken for an HP Pavilion from afar, if not for the giant silver Toshiba logo emblazoned in 0.75 inch letters across the laptop's lid and the brightly glowing Satellite logo on the left side of the laptop's front edge. We like the Satellite U305's design, but we didn't like feeling like we were sitting behind a Toshiba billboard every time we booted up.

The 13.3 inch wide screen display has a decent 1,280x800 native resolution.Toshiba outfits the screen with its TruBrite technology for a brighter, more vibrant image. Unlike other extra bright laptop displays we've seen, the Satellite U305's screen doesn't result in overly distracting reflections and glare. Movies look great on it, though you'll want to use headphones because the integrated stereo speakers located just below the display produce muddled, awful sound.

The Satellite U305 includes Toshiba's redesigned keyboard with both a right side Control key and Windows key in their proper positions (previous Toshiba keyboards had omitted the former and moved the latter to the upper right side). The keyboard flexes a little, but that didn't seem to affect our typing in fact, typing on the Satellite U305 was remarkably comfortable and the spacious keyboard minimized typos.

The laptop's touch pad, though small, was largely functional. In the absence of a touch pad on or off button, we appreciate that the touch surface is recessed, which prevents you from accidentally grazing the touch pad and misplacing the cursor while typing. The mouse buttons are tiny not much wider than the width of our thumb in order to accommodate a fingerprint reader between them.

Given that the print reader does not double as a scroll button, we'd rather it be located elsewhere on the keyboard deck so we could have larger mouse buttons. Above the keyboard sit basic media controls (play or pause, stop, track forward, and track back) as well as buttons to launch the media player and your default Web browser. A volume wheel on the left side and a Wi-Fi on or off switch on the front edge round out the features.

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